Thursdays of SoLaRS

Energy, Power and Nature

Transition strategies towards sustainability

The socio-environmental issues that arise from the appropriation, conversion, transformation, distribution and use of energy and raw materials are becoming increasingly evident. The dynamism of communities and their development prospects are closely intertwined with the availability of energy and raw materials. A historical analysis shows that the sources of energy and raw materials, as well as social work organized for their use, are crucial to the organization of society and its development potential. On the other hand, while the scale of the ongoing ecological crisis and the metabolic rift between society and nature, – which manifests itself mainly through climate change and the change in the availability of organic and inorganic raw materials – has brought the issue of use of resources to the fore and made it a pivotal on the global political agenda.

However, the activation of a transition towards renewable energy and an economy based on circularity able to mitigate climate change within a short time is surrounded by uncertainty. It is also hard to see whether this desirable energy transition will be able to redefine the power relations currently shaping the world networks of energy, mining and work. There is no certainty that energy will become a public good and will stop being the main commodity able to determine major financial fluctuations on a global scale and commodity prices, as there is no certainty about the possibility that independent and decentralized energy communities will be capable of generating free clean energy for themselves and others.

Scenarios abound, but several aspects indicate that the transition will be hard but necessary, given the materiality of energy dynamics intertwined with socio-economic stability issues concerning wide areas of the planet; with the availability of key raw materials such as the so-called "Critical Raw Materials", the logistics-driven mobility of goods and people; food production and price variability – as for cereals, cocoa, coffee, meat; the local and global war scenarios; and growth and degrowth related issues. These centralized networks governed by powerful vertical corporation, constitute the main obstacle to an energy transition, and a circular economy of raw materials which already has to face the strength and rigidity consists of powerful socio-unique technical devices able to transform high entropy energy usable energy in low entropy.

Energy and raw materials are at the centre of our model of development, but to most people they are invisible, taken for granted and imperceptible; they are perceived as managed by powerful networks that capture, produce, refine, convert, distribute and supply. These centralized networks, run by powerful vertical corporations, are the main obstacle to an energy revolution and a circular economy of raw materials, which would also require to overcome the path dependency due to the powerful socio-technical systems that are uniquely able to transform high entropy energy into low entropy energy.


Thursday 20 October; 16,30 - 18,00
Scenarios of Circular Economy. Geothermal energy recovery for agriculture
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Giuseppe Mandrone, Department of Geological Sciences

Thursday 17 November, 14,00 - 16,00
Integrating circular economy and social LCA: challenges and opportunities
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Nadia Tecco, Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Sciences

Thursday 24 November, 14,00 - 16,00
Scenarios of Circular Economy. Strategies of microfoundation for urban metabolism
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Alessandro Sciullo, Department of Culture, Politics and Society

Thursday 1 Dicember, 14,00 - 16,00
Smart Energy Grids. The transition of socio-technical devices towards circularity. Reading Deleuze
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Osman Arrobbio, Department of Culture, Politics and Society

Tuesday 13 Dicember, 14,00 - 16,00
The crises of capitalism and of environment
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Aurelio Angelini, University of Palermo

Thursday 15 Dicember, 14,00 - 16,00
The contribution of ecosystem services towards scenarios of circular economy
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relators Joachim Maes and Sara Sozzo JRC Europe

Tuesday January, 16,00 - 18,00
Agroecology: models, practices and sustainability
Introduce Dario Padovan
Relator Cristiana Peano, Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie, Forestali e Alimentari

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